Monthly Archives: August 2015

To Love and Live at Peace

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ~Matthew 5:43-48

I have started and stopped writing this blog for weeks as I wrestle with this passage of Scripture. An underlying question keeps haunting me: “Am I learning to love my enemies and willing to pray for them?” I still don’t have a definitive answer, but I do want to love others well because I am so blessed each new day as I see the kind of love the Father has for me as a child of God (1John 3:1).

So if I am honest with myself, I realize just how quickly I can choose whether someone is my friend or my enemy. I can expect others to be who I want them to be or I can accept them as the gift they are in my life. Moreover, I am confronted with the choice of whether to seek to live at peace with others as far as it depends on me.

Dallas Willard’s insights in Renovation of the Heart have been helpful as I reflect on my own ability to love others well.

Even in cases where, through no fault of my own, there must be a struggle between me and others, there does not have to be s struggle within me. I may have to resist others, for some good reason, but even so I do not have to make things come out right. I am not the one in control of outcomes. I do not have to hate those whose course of action I resist, or even get mad at them, and so I can always be at peace within myself as well as toward them (pp134-135).

May you and I prayerfully love and live at peace with ourselves and other simply because God first loved us.


You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
‘But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you
on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you
and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces
you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from
you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
~Matthew 5:38-42

Like the people in Jesus day, we are apt to justify our action with “an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” way of thinking. In my heart it looks like this: they spoke poorly of me therefore I can think ill of them, or they did not do what I would have done so I am not following their plan.  But this way of thinking and behaving allows roots of bitterness to go deeper in the soul.

The decision to retaliate or reconcile begins in the mind. Jesus is inviting us to a new way of thinking about how to make unity a reality in our relationships. Reconciliation with one another helps us to understand at a deeper level what it means to be reconciled to the Father. The apostle Paul describes it this way:

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us
to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption,
the forgiveness of sins. ~Colossians 1:13-14

It is hard to endure some relationships. But the Holy Spirit empowers us to patiently go the extra mile with people. I am so thankful for those, who like Christ, go that gracious extra mile with me even when I am not loving generously in return. Moreover, I am so thankful for the Father who has qualified you and me to share in the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:12).

May you and I live and love with a patient and joyful perspective so that reconciliation is our daily reality.